(Josh Buice – Delivered By Grace) Every so often, during political debates, you will hear people talk about the importance of a proper reading of The Constitution of the United States. The argument is that if you allow people to revise the meaning of the original Framers of the Constitution through a modern revisionist approach, the nation will be led to embrace whatever the cultural winds of the day desires.
In seminary, I had faithful professors who taught me proper methods of hermeneutics—the science of biblical interpretation. It’s essential to read the Bible through a proper lens, otherwise you will end up twisting the meaning of the text outside of the proper meaning rooted in the original author who is addressing the original audience. In short, the text of Scripture has one single meaning that is extracted through a method known as the literal-historical-grammatical interpretation. Reading through an allegorical lens butchers the text and produces all sorts of meanings that are ultimately created by the reader rather than the author.
When reading the Bible we must go through a process of examination—discovering the author of the text, recipient(s) of the text, purpose of the text, and date (for contextual purposes). This method helps us extract the literal meaning as opposed to some spiritual meaning formulated through a reader’s own modern experience and circumstances. Remember the old interpretative method that asked each reader what the passage of Scripture means to them personally? We all know how dangerous this method of interpretation is—right?